Political dynamics, mileage and politics in Chitral
Like the last election of 2008, the same traditional ways and means of sect, clan, caste and regional affinity and interests will be used as possible tools to get maximum votes.
Election of 2008 was an easier one for Shahzada Mohiuddin, a veteran and octogenarian politician, who tactfully garnered support of the general public including his political team of pedigree, by the buzz word of ‘Lowari Tunnel’. Though, his rival groups could not have been successful to prove that the former was against this project, but it has been made a topic of debate until recently in some circles in Chitral.
Politicians during the 2008 election in Chitral effectively used dynamics of political platform, contractual groups, racial denomination and parentage system particularly and other forces and elements, for grabbing majority vote generally. The most vicious attempt was clan denominatory sprout and caste-motivated political move, was shrewdly given place in electioneering propaganda.
This strategy developed brief hysteria for other candidates in election campaign closing date of polling in Chitral but the slogan was nipped before bud. Had this move been successful it would be a pyrrhic victory for the group unleashing terminal germs of polarization and segregation and developing a complex sense of competition for superiority complex and removing past so-called tags which might have had nowadays bearing on societal harmony.
Candidates under the umbrella of PMQ won the 2008 race with 33278 votes in NA-32 and Haji Ghulam Mohammad PA-90 from upper Chitral. Salim Khan came with majority vote for PA-89 from PPP’s platform in Garam Chashma vale. The victory of candidates in this election in the unique political scenario of Chitral gives the clear picture that the main factor behind the success was the unforgettable service of Pervaiz Musharraf of Lowari Tunnel and public support for it in terms of vote for the party he was the member of.
There was as such on potential contestant and no strong rival for PPP in Garam Chashma valley and political mileage of sympathy vote made PPP candidate successful. The current political scenario in the country is shifting for PPP under the leadership of new party chairman who leads the party for general elections after Bhutto and for Muslim League (N) from the formidable challenge of PTI in Punjab. The up to date political set-up of Chitral is glaringly different from the last election for contestants for bagging majority vote from the total votes of 205,989 of one national assembly and two provincial assembly seats.
This election would be a challenge for scions of the family and other politicians and a good opportunity for politicians to rise to take lead in Chitral with the retirement of veteran politician from politics and political activities due to health problems. It should also be point of consideration for politicians in Chitral before venturing in political arena that the politics, political dynamics in lower Chitral are different from Upper Chitral and different villages with distinct make up of the society, belief system, priorities and demands. It would be a face up for some politicians to subsist their political following and votes in some areas even some families, and challenge for new comers to take root in public by making public following in a short span of time and getting public acceptance and legitimacy.
Catching public psyche by creating public space is the art of politics. It’s also true with politics that neither demagogues had been successful nor an ideology until tuned in the rhetoric of political polemic, converts a mob into a political follower. But this criterion is no longer wholly and solely applicable in Chitral even in Pakistan Political analysis of Chitral shows that the people of Lotkhow particularly of Garam Chashma and areas in its vicinity are politically mobilized from the rest of the Chitral valley excluding town areas of lower and upper Chitral. politics had started there one and half years earlier in the valley and the works done and services delivered in the area gyrating around two pronged strategy of political than social.
It also gives an idea that PPP has sufficient following in Lotkoh and people also committed to support Pervez Musharraf in this election for his service on constructing the Lowari pass. The introduction of Benazir income support program would be a mileage for justifying party service for poor class, will add up 3% more on ideologues of PPP-make more or less 5% of Chitral of total voters. ANP with the strong representative from the region and upper Chitral would be justifiable to claim public vote for works done in Chitral and would be a source of political mileage for party leaders as well but political standing of the party in general public is marginal and only PSF did ground works in the colleges of Chitral particularly last year by organizing tour and other programs for the students.
PTI has least following and influence likely in few youths and educated people in the area and the lack of PTI kingpin will be a challenge for the party for pursuing politics and gathering support for incoming election. The political statistics do indicate that religious parties has sufficient following than other parties in lower Chitral up to the end of district constituency. Some works of PPP in some areas may grab some section of the people but PTI do likely compete with other parties notwithstanding, new set up and political maneuvour.
PML (Q) and PML (N) have n’t have ideologues like PPP and JI in Chitral and the last election success of PML (Q) candidates was not due to party strategy and election preparation but the service of Musharraf work, was systematically used a trump card for seizing vote but the final announcement of contestants from PML (N) for NA and PA shows its political maturity to nominate candidates after surveying political battle ground. The dramatic situation has occurred in Tehsil headquarter of upper Chitral (in Booni) where PPP, ANP, PMQ-APML and a PTI candidate from 11 Kilometer distance from Booni competing for PA-90 at the same time. It is also interesting to note that in UC Charun each party has its quantified following but it would be a challenging task for the PTI and ANP particularly fresh garner support in a tough contest in the area where majority of the people are also educated and well aware of the politics, political dynamics and mileage.
This make-up and setting of candidates for one seat of provincial assembly ultimately results the cross-cutting of each other votes and dividing people only on clan and parentage line rather than ideological attraction. It would be an instrumental and clear opportunity for party candidates from Tehsil Mulkhow and Torkhow to get majority easier. The political dynamics in upper Chitral indicate this contest of four candidates in Charun UC which has around 9850 votes while the Torkhow valley has approximately 16375 voters under new electoral lists, giving the contestants from Torkhow and mulkhow greater advantage. It is also in the benefit of religious parties to form seat adjustment by making alliance for NA-32 and PA-90 in these areas because these areas indicating religious inclination in voting and political approach, would be a clear edge for winning election but the conditions indicate that JI will never agree and be able to convince its ideologues to vote for JUI and vice-versa.
Even JI leaders are already on disagreement on the nomination of candidates like PPP leaders’ trouble on party nomination of candidates for NA and PA for Chitral. Some independent contestants have also announced for contesting election for PA-90 from upper Chitral, may be the part of political leaders to crisscross support of a party or developing bargaining chip for self interests, will soon be seen. Public representatives may likely lose votes in some areas of upper Chitral on the promises they had made with the public particularly with Laspur and Yarkhun valley. Laspur and Yarkhun valley has again mix following with sufficient support of Musharraf than other areas of Chitral, would give an edge for candidates only in case of justifying themselves from the party of Musharraf. Politics, political dynamics and political mileage has greater probability with the change in political conditions and weather of Chitral.
For making a ground for its standing in politics both drawing room and practical politicians should run side by side in politics. Only public contact will disconnect with online community and 24 hours online connectivity makes off-line men in the street in present situation. Once politics in Pakistan could easily be fought on one front nowadays both fronts makes the politics successful. The best way mustering public support needs sufficient home work before election for coming election. In both rural and urban set up in-contact with public on all events makes possible the pledge for the day of public support.
The societal make-up of Chitral is variable which needs multiple political strategies and slogan seizing support of well educated to illiterate segments of society with multiple priorities, demands and expectations. A democratic culture let to be flourished and developed in Chitral. the political manifestos of political parties must derived from general will and public representatives should come forward with the mission for redressing public grievances then democratic system would work and egalitarian culture will prevail.